Bar Chief? I'll Have One Ball Player with a Twist of Character, Please

Illya HarrellAnalyst IISeptember 1, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 22:  A surfer bails off his board in stong waves created by Hurricane Bill on Rockaway Beach August 22, 2009 in the Queens borough of New York City. The weakening Hurricane Bill continued northward generating high seas and closing beaches along the eastern seaboard.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

I was reading an article earlier today that mentioned John Kruk.  What a corporate shill he has become.  May as well put Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse ears on his head.  I'm ashamed he's a fellow West Virginian.  Call me the John Kruk Dixie Chick.

He used to be cool.  Many of you are familiar with this story.  I've heard two different versions. 

The original, and more believable, was that a lady was with her kids and saw Kruk walking through a stadium corridor, in uniform, smoking a cigarette.

She said something like, "I can't believe a professional athlete is smoking!"

Kruk's response, "Lady, I ain't an athlete.  I'm a ball player."

He later wrote a book that claimed the lady recognized him in a restaurant and said the same thing.  Like any woman would recognize John Kruk.  

Listen up, kiddie corp...the pre-steroid era was not like this.  All the way back.  All through baseball history there have been guys who've gone against the grain.

Who knows?  Maybe you like the stale post-game interview where the guy who hit four homers gives all of the credit to the team's pitcher.  Or the hurler who just completed a no-no is giving all kudos to the sticks.

You don't even have to go very far back. 

If Rickey Henderson were being interviewed for his post-game heroics, you think he'd credit the pitchers?  Hell no! 

"Rickey won this game for Rickey's team.  What team is Rickey playing for this month?"  Doesn't bother to looks at jersey.  "Rickey is the best.  Rickey is the prettiest."

Name some true characters playing today.  Ozzie Guillen?  No, he's managing now.

How about Tim Flannery, the Jeff Spicoli, of the San Diego Padres?  Nope, Flannery is a third base coach with a West coast team.

He retired from playing because he could not land a job for a team located near any tasty waves.

He had a baseball card holding a board. 

His best pal on the team was Eric Show...try telling me there wasn't big league partying afloat.  They were characters damnit.

You don't have to smoke or do drugs to be a big league character.  In fact totally the opposite. 

Sandy Koufax would not pitch on the Jewish sabbath.

Koufax had character.

Do you see Kevin Youkilis or Ryan Braun taking Friday nights, or Saturday day games off? 

No.  Why?  Because they lack character. 

All other professional sports have characters.  Take, for example, Washington Redskin running back, Clinton Portis and his outlandish wigs and entire get up during off day interviews.  He has fun with it...and his deadpan delivery is stinkin' hilarious.

Think Derek Jeter would do that?  No.  Why?  Yeah, you've got it by now.

I'd bet anything that shill, Kruk, only smokes his cigarettes on the back porch.  

ESPN -> ABC -> Disney should go ahead and animate John Kruk.  At least that way Baseball Tonight would be tolerable.